Sleeping Snow Monkeys

Another New Video Soon!

I just finished editing together a cool video interview I did with Alfie Goodrich here in Japan a few days ago. He has borrowed an awesome medium-format digital camera, and I asked him a bunch of questions about it. I think you will enjoy learning a little about the camera, about Alfie, and about his photography!

Daily Photo – Sleeping Snow Monkeys

This was not an easy place to find!

I’ve always wanted to come see the wild snow monkeys… and so I just decided to make it happen this trip. Way up in the mountains of Japan, near Nagano, there is a troop of several dozen wild snow monkeys that roam all around a set of mountains. I didn’t know if I’d be lucky enough to catch them or not… some say it is hard, and some people say it is easy. But you never really know! I set out to do my best and see what I could find.

Towards the very top of the cold mountain, there is a hot spring that churns out super-heated water that smells of sulfur. It fills this little pool and the monkeys come down during the day to lounge about, play, rest, eat, and all kinds of other wonderful things.

I spent two days on this mountainside. ย In the evening, I slept on the floor of a nearby ryokan, which is a traditional Japanese inn. ย There are about 30+ more stories about things that happened here, including eating crunchy crickets, but I will leave those to accompany future photos.

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  • Love it! They’re kinda cute actually ๐Ÿ™‚ in a snow monkey kinda way of course……

    I look forward to more stories!

  • Worth the effort I say! Awesome photo.

  • Cute. They look very cozy.

  • Absolutely brilliant! Mission accomplished. Can’t wait to hear the other stories.

  • The good life! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you

  • Love it.

  • Brilliant! But now that you talk about those cricket, we (I) want to see pictures ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Richard

    What the…? Did Trey pay these guys, or what??

    I’m crackin’ myself up this morning. Seriously… stunning shot.

    This has to be one of my all time faves.

  • Jay

    Love the photo. Probably my favorite of your work.

  • Nice. Glad you managed to catch them! The ryokans up there I hear are really nice. And were they crickets or grasshoppers? Even in Tokyo, if you know where to go you can buy tsukudani locusts. They are wonderful with rice ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  • “…play, rest, eat, and all kinds of other wonderful things.” hahaha ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Thanks!

    Tim – I am pretty sure they were crickets – they seemed too small to be grasshoppers – at least Texas grasshoppers! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I just love snow monkey shots, and I immediately followed the tweet to see what the HDR maestro conjures up from his time with them…
    Lovely work!

  • Alby

    Very cool…

  • These monkeys and this exact area was just on Discovery Channel’s “LIFE” – very cool buddy.

  • casusan

    Oh wow!! Love this shot Trey – they are sooo cute! Glad you found them so we could see too!

  • kw

    very cool pic. Nicely done.

  • JustDewIt

    Great photo but no Snow Monkey photo would be complete without recalling the story of Nolan Ryan talking about being an ambassador for snow monkeys. It’s well worth your time to listen:

  • Sarah

    Fantastic. This is something I’ve always wanted to see in person. They are all looking very relaxed. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Haha so funny JustDewIt – I’ve always heard Gordo’s impressions…. but never that interview !

  • Such stoic expressions! Looks like you got pretty close to these guys. Did you have to sneak tippy-toe?

  • makes it all worthwhile

  • SO awesome. I’ve always wanted to see these little guys. Great job, thanks for sharing as always.

  • Great shot, I love the one in the background looking for something underwater.

  • I like this a lots Trey…seriously…my daughter like it also too…
    “I could stay awake just to hear you breathing
    Watch you smile while you are sleeping
    While you’re far away and dreaming
    I could spend my life in this sweet surrender
    I could stay lost in this moment forever
    Well, every moment spent with you
    Is a moment I treasure…”..hehe..:)

  • Never seen them sleeping before . . this is great.
    I can’t wait to see the rest!
    (or hear the whole story for that matter!)

  • Is this from a single photo (my guess)? Or did you use multiples? Looks like you might have used a high mm lens as well? And maybe a little glow OnOne style? Or are my eyes deceiving me? The background rocks are so smooth, they almost seem Simplified or Clean’d (though I don’t think you did).

  • Wow, you really found them. Stunning!

  • Very nice shot. Like the softness. Great job.

  • Awesome photo of snow monkeys in Japan!

  • Sarah

    Wow, amazing shot! Is the one in the background sleeping in the water?

  • Thanks all!

    Sarah – no, he is just looking down into the water… maybe doing his hair!

    Michael – this is a single exposure. I did have a tripod but did not use it… the softness is a product of the soft bokeh and a bit of pp.

    Benny – Yes, I did have to be pretty quiet! ๐Ÿ™‚ I did not want them to be mad if they woke up!

  • Hi Trey.

    Awesome! I’m not much of an animal shooter but this image inspres me into wanting to explore the possibilities.

    Thanks for Sharing

  • Trey, this is an excellent photo! I try to follow your daily photos as best I can. I made sure to come visit as soon as I saw the title “Sleeping Snow Moneys.” ^_^

    I also have a photo blog at that kinda documents my adventure in and around Miami Florida. I noticed via some of your portfolio,you’ve reached West Palm Beach, but what about Miami!?

    There’s are a redonkulous amount of photo opportunities here, as you will see at my site. So many events. c;

  • monkeys** Haa

  • Jon

    Not sure who has been following the Discovery Channel show, “Life” that just finished up this weekend but these exact monkeys were featured in the “Primates” episode this weekend. Very intentional or coincidental timing. If you haven’t seen anything from this show I encourage you to check it out.

  • What a neat photo, Trey!!!!! The monkeys look like wisened old men contemplating life. And I agree with Jon, Life is a magnificent program. I missed the last episode because I was watching/listening to the Country Music Awards Sunday night and working with the computer re-establishing all the programs.
    My personal opinion, Trey, is you should rethink certain plans I know about from your Mom. That Pacific Rim is getting awfully active. I know, it can happen in Texas, too. There’s always something going on, but lately, it’s every day. Small quake near Nashville today!!! Well, enough said on that subject.
    Thanks for sharing and taking us places we wouldn’t get to see otherwise once again. Now on to tomorrow’s post.

  • this is amazing pic. reminds me of the movie Samsara which has one of the scenes from this place. seems to be peaceful heavens.

  • Ryan

    Hey Trey!

    How close are you to these guys?
    What is your focal length?

  • Thanks all!

    Ryan – I was about 3 feet away from them!

  • “I didnโ€™t know if Iโ€™d be lucky enough to catch them or notโ€ฆ some say it is hard, and some people say it is easy”
    Trey look at your lifestyle then tell me you’re not lucky! having said that, thank you so much for your inspirational pictures I know there’s so much hard work behind all that good luck You deserve it! Thanks Trey keep snapping! john I

  • Jamie zartman

    Normally I would say let sleeping monkeys lie, but what a wonderful photo on so many levels. This is one photo
    I really will enjoy sharing.

    Thanks Trey for your generous gifts of vision.

    Note, how often are the lexar cards being erased and used again? Do you mix stills and movies on a card?

  • Thanks!

    Jamie – yes I do mix still and movies on the same card… I only have one Lexar card and it has failed twice now…

  • OMG, Trey. I don’t think I’ve actually fallen in love with any of your shots before (love them but not IN love with them). This one blows me away. The composition is absolutely fantastic as are the subjects. Beautifully processed (of course). It will now be spending the next week as my desktop image (which is usually occupied by my own shots). You should do more “people/animal/living things” work. You sure have the talent and it makes for a wonderful variation to your usual work.

  • Now that I have been looking at this gem of a shot for two days I’m still (if not more)in love with it. However, it has taken a whole new twist. Somehow, I’m seeing these beautiful very human like monkeys at a public library holding iPads/Kindles in their hands. Forgive me, Trey, but that’s what I’m seeing. I’ll let you know what happens two days from now ;-).

  • cathy lake

    What a wonderful way to start my day! Thank you so much for sharing. I’m not a photographer but I truly appreciate artists. Can’t thank you enough!

  • I love this photo. I’m wondering, though, how HDR pictures like this one get the subtle “glow” that they have. It is one of my favorite aspects of HDR pics. I have ordered your book, but haven’t received it yet, so I don’t know if this is discussed there. If not, I really hope to learn what plug-ins or techniques help to get that look. You do it well in most of your photos. I hope to emulate someday. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • lemme clarify- not the fog glow, but the bit of glowy softness around the fur & highlights. I can’t get my pics to do the same, and I love it!

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